I was 19, in college, but very naïve about the world. It was the evening of Mother’s Day. Earlier in the day, my grandmother told my Mom, who told my Dad, that I was a smoker and no longer a virgin. It was a traumatizing day.

As I was packing to return to campus, my parents summoned me to their bedroom. I remember ending up pressed against their headboard, curled up in the smallest ball I could manage while my Dad called me “slut” and other such names. My Mom just asked, “Why?”

When I said my college boyfriend and I were in love and planned to be married after college, they told me to choose between him and their home. When I fled to my room to grab my suitcase, my Mom screamed, “Don’t take anything out of here that you didn’t pay for!” So, I grabbed a hat I had bought with proceeds from a summer job and headed for the front door.

Later that week, my period was due. No show. I was as regular as Old Faithful, so when nothing showed up for two weeks, I was sure that I was pregnant. I told my boyfriend, who said it was my problem. So, I confided in my girlfriends.

I couldn’t go home, had no money, and definitely couldn’t tell my parents. I knew having a baby was impossible. I was the first in my family to go to college. I couldn’t drop out! My girlfriends gave me their solution—a douche with cola. You can only imagine the pain!

I bled like crazy. Three weeks later, I was still spotting. Terrified, I went to the school nurse who sent me to Planned Parenthood in the nearest town. It was the first I heard of Planned Parenthood, and to this day, I bless them! A doctor examined and treated me for what she suspected was a burning-off of a layer of uterine tissue and gave me my first prescription of birth control pills.

My boyfriend and I broke up. I finished college.

Years later, in my 30’s, I was diagnosed with severe endometriosis. I saw a specialist and did artificial insemination, but I was never able to conceive. I heard of women using coat hangers and knitting needles in their desperation to stop unwanted pregnancies. I had been so desperate that the threat of jail didn’t stop me from doing what I needed to do. Many of us were young and felt pressured into having unprotected sex before we were ready, and others were raped.

No one can stop a woman from ridding herself of a pregnancy she is not ready for. It is a lonely road when one cannot turn to another for help. Banning abortion is not “pro-life.” It is anti-woman!